Of all the different aspects of a wedding the only one you must have is an officiant. But we officiants are not ‘just the legal bit’. We are the difference between a legal marriage and a ceremony of commitment. We are also the person who communicates the experience of your unique relationship. I have been officiating at weddings for over 30 years and the one certainty is that every couple is unique: how they met, their values, their personalities, their hopes and dreams. The officiant is the storyteller, the narrator of your relationship and the orator of your commitment at that precious moment.
For this experience to be all you wish it to be, hire a professional. He or she will probably be the least expensive of all your vendors, but the ceremony is what the day is all about. A professional officiant can guide you, make suggestions, offer options and work with you to set the tone you wish, so you may express to one another and your guests what you mean to each other.
WHAT DOES THE OFFICIANT DO?
Officiating at a wedding is more than a job. For me and I would hope for anyone officiating a wedding, being asked to officiate is a high honor and a sacred trust.
So what can you expect from a professional officiant? This is a basic outline of what you can expect from me. I can’t speak for others, but this is what I bring:
Respond to initial inquiry by couple and schedule an initial meeting where we get to know one another. If we are a “fit”, I’ll reserve the date and discuss ceremony options and provide resources to help planning the ceremony
Meet with the couple to discuss and brainstorm the ceremony. Through the process, I communicate with couple via email to insure the ceremony is what the couple wishes.
Suggest any unity ceremony rituals and blended family ceremonies. These include but are not limited to Sand, Rose, Wine, Unity Candles, Glass Breaking, Medallions, Blessings, etc.
Take all the ideas provided by the couple and write a custom ceremony using custom and non-custom elements.
Get acquainted with the venue if not already, such as a park, a home. If need be, I will call or email venues and communicate with the venue so I know what to expect. If it’s local and I’m not familiar with the venue, I travel there and check out the site.
Arrive at the venue an hour before the start of the ceremony to meet with the coordinators, DJ, photographers and any other necessary folks. I provide a ceremony outline to the vendors who need one so there are no surprises. I am also there to help with any last minute crisis, nerves, be a calming influence for the nervous partner who is waiting at the altar.
Announce the legal joining of the couple.
Complete and file paperwork with vital records authorities, make copies of documentation.
Send a copy of the ceremony to the couple.
One question that comes up often is the cost. Costs vary but usually you can expect a charge between $300 and $500 depending on experience and your wishes. My charge is generally $350 and is all inclusive with no hidden charges. It is important to realize that 90% of an officiant’s work is done before the day of the wedding in meetings, research, writing and, re-writing. An officiant’s “work” usually averages of 10-15 hours for each wedding.
WHAT SHOULD WE LOOK FOR?
You should be looking for a wedding officiant or minister who is not just experienced, reliable and affordable, but someone who is personable and sensitive to your taste. Anybody can lead two people through a familiar set of wedding vows and deliver a canned message. But for a truly magical moment, it takes a wedding officiant who understands the value of connecting, of being in the moment, of losing yourself to each other as you make the most important commitment of your lives together. You’re not looking for a cookie-cutter ceremony…but a personalized, customized wedding… your way. A good officiant will co-create an experience to transform ordinary into amazing!
You may not even know what you want your ceremony to look like. That’s all right. You may have no idea what to say. That’s not a problem. That’s why you have hired a professional officiant. We will put our experience to work for you to create a ceremony that is a perfect fit: an experience you and your guests will long remember.